The mother of six—who ran a now-defunct family YouTube channel—and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested and remain in custody for aggravated child abuse charges in Utah. According to the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department, their arrests on Aug. 30 came after police were alerted to a report of a starved child.
"For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of Ruby Franke for the sake of her children," their joint statement shared to their respective Instagram accounts on Aug. 31 read. "Behind the public scene, we have done everything to try and make sure the kids were safe. We wouldn't feel right about moving forward with regular content without addressing the most recent events. Once we do, we will not be commenting on it any further."
They added, "Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodi was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority."
Authorities said the child, per a press release issued by the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department, appeared "emaciated and malnourished" with "open wounds and duct tape around the extremities," and had been seeking food and water when they were found. The child, whose identity and age were not disclosed, per police, was transported to a local hospital due to their condition.
Officers also searched a nearby residence after they said they were informed that other children could be undergoing similar circumstances, according to the press release.
Police said they found another juvenile "in a similar physical condition of malnourishment," who was also transported to a hospital. The two children were staying in Hildebrandt's home at the time, according to a police booking affidavit obtained by NBC affiliate KSL.com.
Four more minor children were taken, according to authorities, into the care of the Department of Child and Family Services.
Franke's 20-year-old estranged daughter Shari also spoke out after her mom's arrest, writing that it was a "big day."
"Me and my family are so glad justice is being served," she wrote in an Instagram Story post. "We've been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up. Kids are safe, but there's a long road ahead. Please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy."
In a follow-up post, the 20-year-old asked supporters to send her "questionable or concerning" content related to her mother's once-popular 8 Passengers YouTube channel, which previously raised concerns with viewers about Franke's extreme parenting methods.
Attempts to reach Franke and Hildebrandt for comment have been unsuccessful.
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